COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The inaugural Clark Kellogg Tip-Off Classic was held this past weekend, featuring some of the top teams and players in Ohio. The showcase looks like it could develop into a must-see event in the coming years.
Here were some of the standouts from this year’s event.
Marquiez Lawrence (Columbus, Ohio/Marion-Franklin)
2013, PF, 6-8, 200
This long and tall four-man has improved his skill level. He is a solid face-up shooter to 17 feet and can also do just enough off the dribble to keep defenders honest. He is best as an active garbage man who can get quite a few things done around the basket. Lawrence is a mid-major prospect who is unsigned.
Mike Wells (Delaware, Ohio/Hayes)
2013, PG, 5-7, 175
Wells is a tailback on the basketball court. He gets in the lane at will with his strong body, and once he gets his shoulder into you, it's over -- he is either scoring or getting fouled. Wells, who scored 29 points in a solid win over Marion-Franklin, is a streaky shooter with range to 19 feet. He is another Division I talent who is still available.
Jae'Sean Tate (Pickerington, Ohio/Central)
2014, SF/PF, 6-4, 195
Tate, an Ohio State commit, is tough to handle at the high school level because he is strong and has a motor that won't quit. He scores in the paint and has improved his range so that he can be effective out to 19 feet. The lefty is best when he is attacking the basket, as his strength and athletic ability make him virtually unstoppable.
Carlton Bragg (Cleveland/Villa Angela-St. Joseph)
2015, PF, 6-8, 205
Bragg has a chance to be an elite-level recruit. He has all the tools: He’s long, tall, athletic and skilled. His motor is not always running at maximum level, but he is still productive. Bragg, who scored 17 points in a victory over Columbus Africentric, is being recruited by practically every high-major school in the Midwest. He is a much-improved shooter and has solid range to 19 feet. Bragg should find his way into our national rankings the next time they are updated.
Brian Parker (Cleveland/Villa Angela-St. Joseph)
2015, SG, 6-2, 195
Parker is a strong-bodied scorer who is tough to stop when he is in attack mode. The lefty attacks the rim and is an excellent finisher in the paint. He needs to improve his shooting range and consistency, but he knows how to get the ball in the basket. He has the build of a future college linebacker but will be Division I basketball player.
Seth Towns (Columbus, Ohio/Northland)
2016, SF/PF, 6-6, 190
Towns, who scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in his first varsity game, is on his way to being an elite prospect. He is skilled with good size and length, and he has a nice turnaround baseline jumper already. Towns is another prospect who will likely appear in the ESPN rankings down the road.
Clemmye Owens (Toledo, Ohio/Rogers)
2013, SG, 5-10, 170
This pocket wing knows how to score the basketball. He’s a streaky shooter with range to 22 feet, and he is strong and effective scoring in traffic. Owens plays hard and should be a good player next season at his college choice of Bethune-Cookman.
Connor Kern (Pickerington, Ohio/Central)
2014, SG, 6-2, 185
Kern is a specialist: He is one of the better shooters in Ohio with his feet set. The lefty is a little streaky but can get on a roll where he knocks down four or five in a row from 22 feet or beyond. Kern is committed to Wheeling Jesuit University.
• Though Canton (Ohio) Timken did not fare so well in its game against Pickerington Central, Timken’s best prospect by far was 6-foot-3 freshman wing Lepear Toles. The lefty is raw but has some skill and talent, with a solid feel for the game and good passing ability. He struggled some in his first high school game but showed enough promise that he is a player who will need to be monitored in the future.
• Kenny Robinson, a 6-foot senior wing out of Columbus (Ohio) Africentric, is one of the better athletes you’ll see on the high school level. He is built like a football safety and plays basketball with that same attitude. He is probably a Division II basketball prospect, but he is an attacker who finishes well at the rim.